First Tuesday of Advent-Innovation vs. Duplication

Have you ever noticed that every area of life seems to have one innovator and a host of duplicators.  Take computers as an example.  Apple is an innovator.  They invented the iPod, the iPad, and the iPhone.  There are other portable mp3 players, tablet computers, and smart phones, but none of them is as good (or as expensive) as the original.  Look at music.  In the ’60s the Beatles were the first British band to hit it big in the US.  They were followed by scores of others, but today, 50 years later, most of the others are just footnotes to musical history.  The Beatles were the innovators.

I watched a show on PBS Sunday, a performance by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Junior, the “Rat Pack”.  There had never been anything quite like them.  All accomplished singers, they weren’t afraid to do things differently and the crowds loved them.  This particular event was held here in Saint Louis.  The television special was part of another PBS fund drive.  If you signed up at a certain level you got tickets to see a concert by a team of “Rat Pack” impersonators.  These guys do make a living impersonating Frank, Dean, and Sammy which shows that there are always customers for an imitation, but I guarantee you they won’t pay the same price they’d pay to see the originals, if they were still alive.

“OK, deacon, that’s all well and good, but what’s it got to do with Advent?”  Here’s the thing.  God the father sent His only Son to redeem the world. That’s all. Just one.  That Son “will come again to judge the living and the dead.”  You and I are called to emulate Jesus’ holiness, but we’ll never be exactly like Him.  It’s just not possible.  He is unique.  He is an innovator.

We’re like Jesus because we’re all unique, too.  God’s will on earth has never been represented before by someone with your unique qualities; and it never will be again.  When He made you, He really did break the mold.  Through the millennia God has created millions of human beings.  Some were very public people, both good and bad.  In our own time we have the examples of Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa, and many others.  They’re great examples of God’s will.  They’re innovators.  We can use them as positive role models, but we can’t be them.  They already exist.  God doesn’t need another John Paul II.  He doesn’t need another Mother Teresa.

In His infinite wisdom, God has created you and me to fulfill a particular role in salvation history.  He has created us to be the best version of ourselves.  He has created us to be innovators, not duplicators.  He’s created us to use the talents and skills we’ve been given to the max.  To do any less is to disrespect God and the gifts He’s given us.

In his book, Rediscovering Catholicism, Matthew Kelly suggests that we ask God every day, “Lord, what can I do today to be the best version of myself?”  How can I be the best “me” I can possibly be?  Perhaps that should be the start of our prayers every day this Advent.  But the question is useless if we don’t listen for the answer.  It might come immediately or it might not come until the end of the day.  But there will be an answer.

Won’t it be a shame if we aren’t listening when it comes?

Have a blessed day!

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One Response

  1. […] I said yesterday, God made each of us to be unique individuals.  Rather than envy someone else’s […]

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